Rocket Steps. The art of communication.

Video production for the University of Manchester

Illustration, motion graphics and voice work combine in this video production for The University of Manchester.

Back in January I started work on a video  project for The University of Manchester. The brief was to celebrate and publicise their ‘school governors initiative’, a programme where university staff help schools and colleges to improve, and in turn provide an opportunity for self development for those that volunteer.

Their initiative has won a handful of awards and I was keen to create a video would do justice to the hard work and accolades won by Alison, Stephanie and the social responsibility team at the university.

This projects covers;

The Process

Working closely with the team, we started with the script.  Concept visuals were sketched out and then both were combined into a slideshow to give a rough idea of the story they wanted to tell, and how the visuals and voice over  would work together.

There was a lot of information to get across in the script including surveys and stats, so I considered it important that the illustrations carried a narrative. Two of the key scenes identified from the script were the establishing shot of the university itself and the big success of ‘over 1000 governors’.

Naturally the script went through revisions, and what started as a three minute video eventually expanded to around eight minutes to get the entire story told. It was a tough call to leave anything out,  so we decided to go ahead with the longer edit and treat it as a short film.

For the voiceover, I did the initial pass using a Snowball Blue microphone, which is perfect for voice work. Then dipped into the talent pool of my performer friends at Comedysportz, who individually have done voice work for talking books and video games and offered a handful of voices to choose from. After chosing Rob Hudson, a recording session took place, which was edited and synced up to the video.

Illustration and video animation for the University of Manchester
Illustration for the University of Manchester

The entire project took three months of working across a many different disciplines. Here’s the final result;


Technical info

  • Illustrations were sketched both  by hand and digitally then inked and coloured in ClipStudio.
  • Finished elements were imported into flash where other motion graphics were created.
  • The voice over  was recorded on a Snowball blue mic and edited in Audacity.
  • The video sections were edited together in Premiere.

19th May – Stand Up comedy for work presentations workshop

The next ‘Present Yourself’ workshop is taking place on Sunday 19th May in Manchester and is being run by Comedysportz UK. THIS EVENT HAS PASSED.


Taking experience from the demanding environment of stand-up comedy, this workshop helps unlock creative thinking and building authentic confidence in front of an audience. This short intensive session will cover some practical methods and discussion on how to increase engagement, better storytelling and ad-libbing while staying on topic.

CSzUK is part of CSzWorldwide, one of the world’s largest comedy schools. We utilise applied improv and performance techniques to get the best from people in workshops that are fun, friendly and affordable. Boost your presentation skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Sunday 19th May. 12.30-5pm. Kings Arms, Salford. £45 for this workshop (or £10 non refundable deposit, the remainder needed by the course date).

Rocket Steps. The art of communication.

Rocket Steps Ltd - The Art of Communication

The Art of Communication

Showcase portfolio of John Cooper. Media creative working in Comedy, Illustration, Improvisation and Public speaking.